Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree NYCAt Manhattan Mini Storage, we know that December can be challenging. The temperature can plummet a frosty 40 degrees in the span of an afternoon, the sun sets long before happy hour begins, and the crush of holiday party obligations can overwhelm even the most social of butterflies. But never fear! Here at MMS Holiday Headquarters, we’ve cumulatively survived hundreds of Decembers. Just follow these three steps (as well as checking out the low-cost suggestions for some winter weather fun), and you’re sure to emerge in January safe, sound and ready for whatever the New Year may bring!

Step #1:

Dress in layers.  Every December, predictions about the impending winter weather are made by professional and amateur meteorologists alike; anyone with a Farmers’ Almanac or a smartphone thinks they’re the new Sam Champion (the nerve!). When it comes to weather, the only prediction you can count on is that there will, in fact, be weather; and lots of it. If you’ve left the house in a light jacket, the snowpocalypse will arrive. If you’re wearing a parka because it’s cold waiting for the 7 Train in Long Island City, it’ll be a balmy 65 degrees when you ascend to Times Square. The solution is to be prepared with multiple garments that you can add or subtract in a flash. These should include fabric that’s water-resistant – because snow in New York is just as likely to turn to rain or hail. Remember to toss a scarf and a pair of gloves in a backpack and you’re ready for…

The Christmas Tree at Rockefeller Center

Often considered the unofficial icon of the New York City holiday season, the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree is free and open to the public. For more than 70 years, the giant tree has transcended the commercial trappings of modern holiday traditions, whether serving as shelter for construction workers gathering during the Great Depression, or as a symbol of post-9/11 patriotism. The tree – along with its five miles of twinkling lights – is an optimistic prism through which to view the world and current affairs. This year, the tree (usually between 75 and 90 feet tall and donated from private property, not a tree farm) was lit this past Wednesday, Dec. 3rd and will remain illuminated until Jan. 7, 2015 (between 5:30am and 11:30pm). Join tens of thousands of other tree-admirers along the area’s sidewalks for what is without a doubt a signature New York City holiday experience. For more information please visit http://gonyc.about.com.

Step #2

Have a plan. December is the busiest time of the year in New York City, from the Cloisters to the Staten Island Ferry. In addition to the weather (see above) the one thing you can count on is that there will always be more people than you expect. Millions flock to the Big Apple from around the globe, and very few of them concern themselves with the daily routine of those of us who live here. So pad your daily routine with a few extra minutes to accommodate travel delays. Have an alternate plan in the off-chance that a show is sold out or a restaurant booked. And, most importantly, plan for the very real possibility that you will have to interact with others – lots of others – who may not be in as much of a hurry as you. For example, if you’re visiting the…

The Lighting of the Menorah

Join friends, family and other Chanukah-celebrators as they gather around the world’s largest menorah. You’ll be astonished by the towering 32-foot, gold-colored, 4,000-pound steel structure. Folk dancers and hot latkes help to transform Grand Army Plaza at Fifth Avenue and West 59th Street into a sensational Jewish Festival of Lights. Free for all, the lighting begins around sundown on Dec. 16th and concludes on Dec. 23rd. (The Saturday lighting ceremony is delayed for the conclusion of the Sabbath). For more information, please visit http://kudago.com.

Step #3

The last ingredient for surviving December in New York is patience. You’re the native in this concrete jungle, so don’t let a little unplanned weather – or a lot of extra people – make you lose your cool. At MMS, we find that patience, plus a change of perspective, always helps. For example, if it’s sleeting and your brand-new moleskin clutch is getting ruined because a fanny pack-wearing-family of five is ogling the holiday windows at Barney’s; take a breath and then take a look. Maybe seeing what they’re seeing, through their eyes will help you to remember how lucky you are to call New York City your home.

And if that doesn’t work, hail a cab and head to Staten Island for something completely different…

Candlelight Tour of Historic Richmond Town

For a little holiday adventure that even the most native New Yorker probably hasn’t experienced, check out the one-night-only Candlelight Tour of Historic Richmond Town on Staten Island. On Dec. 13th, between 5 and 8:30pm, for a reasonable $20, join an intimate evening tour of an entire historic town guided by the glow of old-fashioned lamps. The tour will journey through 300 years of tradition to explore how America’s most festive season evolved. It includes stops in private homes, where you’ll be welcomed by people from days of old who will treat you to a taste of life gone by. The tour ends with a festive Wassail Bowl Reception in the Courthouse. Historic Richmond Town has been presenting Candlelight Tours for decades and has become a popular holiday tradition for generations of families. The tour, charming in its own right, is perfect for busy New Yorkers looking to slow down for a moment during the busy holiday season. For more information please visit http://www.statenislandnycliving.com.

From Humbug to Ho Ho Ho

Trust us. If you follow these three steps – wear layers, make a plan and practice patience – you’ll survive the holiday season. And, if you check out some of these festive December activities, you might just enjoy it, too.

Happy Holidays!